Monday, August 30, 2004

Mr. McGrew?

Hey, if you know me, you know I'm a Geocaching whore. Well, a Geocaching First Finder Whore, anyway. There IS a difference, as "Duck" of the Geocaching team of Duck-n-Deedy tells me. Since he's publicly admitted that he's one (a GFFW), then I guess I can come out from behind the LED headlight and admit that I am one, too.

So, you'd be surprised to find us (me, Eric and the kids) going on long day trips into the unknown to find old in our area and cleaning them off of our "to do" list, right? Yeah, I thought so, too, but we're doing it.

We spent one afternoon two weeks ago heading up Little Jones creek, where we found three caches, culminating at a cache at the GORGEOUS Sanger Lake. This lake is on a mountain top, almost literally. The views from all around are spectacular.


This is a photo taken from the "Rock, Rock, 'Til You Drop" cache. What a view!

The boys had a great time, and for late August the weather wasn't too hot at the higher elevations. At one point we were up on the plus side of 4,000 feet.

After making this trip, we decided to do a cache that we'd been promising ourselves to do for a long time: Mr. McGrew, along the McGrew Trail in Southern Oregon. Prior to the Bisquit Fire, the only way to access this cache was with a hardcore, dedicated rockcrawling 4x4. During the fire, dozers were brought in to level the road so that fire fighting equipment could get there and to dig fire breaks. This made the trip accessible for less than hardcore vehicles. We learned this when others who had normal, daily-driver 4x4's were finding the cache. If they could do it, we could!

Of course, that was when we owned the '00 Ford SuperCab 4x4 pickup. Now we own a '03 Ford Expedition. Two Wheel Drive. First time I've owned a non-4x4 since I traded my '73 VW Super Beetle for a brand new 1980 Toyota 4x4 pickup. BUT... I figured that with the total years of four-wheeling that Eric and I have between the two of us, we'd be able to make it... NO PROBLEM, right? Not only that, but using our MapSend Topographical software, we could map out the most logical route for the family "tank".

It worked! It took a long time, and the scenery was both spectacular and humbling. This is one of the most gorgeous areas on the face of the planet. The trees are huge, impressive and abundant. The trail took us to places we didn't think we'd ever see without the aid of a helicopter.

This is an image of the summit at Mr. McGrew. You can see some of the burnt trees, and beyond those the mountains surrounding us.

It was humbling to see the damage, even two years later, of the Bisquit Fire. Along the route there we saw evidence of equipment that had knocked over burnt trees to help build the fire breaks, dug ditches, and have since been back to build berms in the roads and do maintenance to prevent erosion. The berms made the road like riding a little kiddie roller coaster. At the top, one can see the devastation for miles.

Nature has interesting ways of putting us tiny humans back on our rung of importance along the Ladder of All Things.

My best-friend Dave was told about our desire to do this, and he and his son Travis and a few other assorted friends decided to make the trip from the opposite end of the trail - the one that the dozers never made it to. We sat at the summit for about 90 minutes waiting for them to crawl over the VW-sized rocks and through the dried creek beds along the true 4x4 trail. Dave came in his '01 Ford F250 4x4, complete with his pop-up cabover camper. His son Travis came in his beater Toyota 4x4 p/u.

They had a much tougher time of it, but they followed us out the way we came in. What a day! Oh, and we found the cache!


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